More Than a Vendor

Sure, we know who has our favorite pluots or who bakes a mean vegan brownie, but every vendor has their own story. Sometimes it's difficult to imagine these people outside of the market setting, but many of our vendors Read more

How You Like Dem Apples?

Perhaps one of the best things about this Summer-Fall hybrid season is apples! As many MCM shoppers know, everything you thought you knew about apples before is probably not even half the story. With over 30 years of experience, Dave Read more

What did the Mission say?

As I approached the youth surveyor’s booth at MCM last Thursday, all six surveyors were engaged in conversation with a passer-by. They looked relaxed and in charge, fielding questions about where to use the bathroom even as they explained Read more

Apriums and apricots: your guide to stone fruits featuring Twin Girls Farm

Posted on by Kaiya Gordon in Blog, Twin Girls Farm, Vendor of the Week | Leave a comment

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At the Twin Girls Farms booth, kids circle the cherry samples, grabbing fistfuls of the fruit and grinning. One jumps up and down. “Yay cherries!” he smiles. The booth’s proprietor Jimmy Egoian smiles too. After a few weeks away from Mission Community Market, Twin Girls has just turned the corner from winter season. Their tables are a testament to the warmer weather, and favorites, like yellow and white peaches, are piled high; there are signs pointing to new gems, too––pluots, donut white peaches, apriums, and loquats. I spoke to Jimmy about Twin Girls’ mission, what makes a good fruit, and how to tell the difference between a pluot and an aprium.

Twin Girls is not a superficial farm. “We don’t care what fruits look like,” Jimmy says. “If it eats good, it is good.” In fact, Jimmy explains that bad looking fruits are better tasting. “If it’s cracked,” he says, “it is ten times better.” The cracked fruits have a higher sugar content than their smooth-surfaced companions. When the fruits are growing, that sugar content causes the insides to grow faster than the outside, leading to skins that split and then re-heal.

Scarred (and sweet!) nectrines at Twin Girls Farm's booth

Scarred (and sweet!) nectarines at Twin Girls Farm’s booth.

It’s clear that shoppers respond to Twin Girls’ commitment to eating. Today, visitors are reaching for the new editions to Twin Girls’ table: apriums and pluots. Can’t tell the difference? Jimmy let me in on the secret––“apriums,” Jimmy notes, “are just backwards pluots.” What he means is that both fruits are combinations of apricots and plums, but they differ in composition; while pluots are about 75% plum and 25% apricot, apriums are the opposite.

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Apriums, like any other fruit, come in a variety of strains. The best one, flavorellas, are also the most rare––Jimmy tells me that farms can only grow about 10 to each tree. In comparison, the aprium strain that Twin Girls has on it’s tables, tasty rich apriums, grows 200 aprium fruits on each tree.

Jimmy Egoian, the proprietor of the Twin Girls Farm stall at MCM

Jimmy Egoian, the proprietor of the Twin Girls Farm stall at MCM

Another unique strain of stone fruit that has become a family favorite is the donut peach. Twin Girls has white donut peaches, and when Jimmy hands me one to taste, its sweetness is so concentrated I feel like I’m eating candy. That isn’t because of the donut shape, though, this donut strain just has more sugar. But the distinctive shape is a favorite with kids, who find the oblong shape easy to hold. Adults, too, flock to the donut peaches––perhaps reminiscing about their own childhood.

Yellow peaches are more acidic than their pale counterparts, which gives them that distinctive “tang” that works well in pies and on the grill.

And what is the taste difference between a white and yellow peach? White peaches, distinguishable by their paler, pink skins, are sweeter, and thus more easily bruised. Yellow peaches are more acidic than their pale counterparts, which gives them that distinctive “tang” that works well in pies and on the grill. Try white peaches on their own, with salsas or ceviche, or in drinks.

White peaches are sweeter and less acidic than yellow.

White peaches are sweeter and less acidic than yellow.

One more fruit that I’m interested in is grown in bunches on thick, brown stems. “That’s a loquat,” Jimmy notes, “it’s an old type of fruit.” It may be old, but its introduction to shoppers at Mission Community Market is recent. Loquats, which are ripe in the late winter or early spring, and may not be at the market for much longer, are sweetest when they are soft and orange.

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When I bite into the loquat that Jimmy hands me, I’m reminded of a lychee. Try loquats in jelly, compote, or even wine.

The farm started with yellow peaches a few weeks ago, which Jimmy tells me is about “10 days earlier than early.” But “no matter what,” he continues, “from year to year everyone wants a yellow peach.” To determine when peaches, and other stone fruits like them, will become ripe, farmers look at the “bloom” of the plants. When the bloom comes in farmers can determine whether their crops will be early, on time, or late. Early doesn’t necessarily mean better; Twin Girls’ peaches may have grown premature due to a dry winter. But Jimmy cautions against drought fear-mongering: “we’ve been dealing with little water for 6 or 7 years,” he says.

“The perfect fruit is never the best fruit.”

Along with the crop time, deficient water can affect the shape of the fruit. Lopsided fruits are one result of a drought; when the pits, or stones, of a fruit are not sufficiently hydrated, they may be unable to grow evenly. But other imperfections, are not a problem for Twin Girls’––for this farm, it’s all about the taste. “That’s what’s going to bring people back,” Jimmy says, handing me a slice of aprium. It’s bruised, but very sweet. “The perfect fruit,” he continues, “is never the best fruit.”

Mercado Kitchen: Mediterranean Microgreen Salad

Posted on by BrittanyG in Achadinha Cheese Company, Blog, LifeFood Gardens, Mercado Kitchen, Recipes, Twin Girls Farm, Vendors | 1 Comment

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Mediterranean Microgreen Salad

Microgreens are a new way to get your daily dose of vitamins, whether they are juiced, added atop salads, or upon a toasted baguette. This week, we’ve highlighted the microgreens in their very own salad. The greens are accompanied with some of our favorite vegetables and fruits, drenched in healthy Omegas, and topped with fresh feta cheese if you like! This salad is best enjoyed outside under the thick sunlight we San Franciscan’s have been enjoying this year! The subtle flavor of the tomatoes and cucumber help add a bit of moisture to the salad, while allowing the full flavor of the microgreens and sprouted beans from Lifefood Gardens to come alive in your mouth. Stop by the market this week from 4-8pm to pick up your own tray of microgreens and jump on the healthy bandwagon.

Ingredients:
Tray of Sunflower microgreens from Lifefood Gardens
1/2 bag of Sprouted beans from Lifefood Gardens
1 Tomato, chopped
1/2 Cucumber, chopped
Juice of 1 Lemon from Twin Girls Farm
Salt, Peppper
Healthy pour of olive oil
Crumbled feta from Achadinha Cheese Co. (Optional, but highly recommended)

Directions:
Acquire either a whole tray or a handful of sunflower microgreens from Lifefood Gardens. Lightly wash the greens and place in a large salad bowl.
Add chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, half a bag of any sprouted beans from Lifefood Gardens, the juice of one lemon, generous amounts of salt and pepper, and a healthy pour of olive oil (we used an olive oil that has been infused with garlic and fresh chilli for a light kick).

We chose to highlight the microgreens in a vegan salad for this recipe, but we think that adding a handful or two of fresh crumbled feta from Achadinha Cheese Co. would be a GREAT addition, helping balance the sweet and tangy flavors of the veggies with a salty, creamy bite of cheese.
Serve immediately or after a few hours when the flavors have infused (even after being coated with olive oil the microgreens hold their firmness for a day or two!).

Mercado Kitchen: Linguine with Zucchini and Mint

Posted on by BrittanyG in Blog, Blue House Farm, Home Made Ravioli, Marla Bakery, Mercado Kitchen, Recipes, Tomatero Farm, Twin Girls Farm | Leave a comment

zucchinimintAs spring begins to move into summer, more and more vegetables and fruits are popping up at Mission Community Market each Thursday. This past week Tomatero Farm introduced the season’s first zucchini and yellow summer squash, while Blue House Farm across the way had bundles of fresh mint… If you’ve never combined zucchini and mint together, this week’s recipe is a must try! The sweetness of the zucchini is highlighted by the mint when sauteed in fresh olive oil. Combined with Home Maid Ravioli‘s fresh pasta, this dish can be served during spring and summer when the temperature rises and our palates crave cool, sweet flavors.

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Linguine with Zucchini and Mint

Ingredients:
4 zucchinis from Tomatero Farm
1 cup of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 bag of fresh pasta from Home Maid Ravioli
3/4 cup fresh mint from Blue House Farm, finely chopped
1 tbs. finely grated fresh lemon zest from lemons at Twin Girls Farm
Juice from 1/2 of the zested lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
First, slice the zucchinis very thin, similar to the shape and size of the linguine you will be combining it with.

Heat the cup of oil in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking. Fry the sliced zucchini in three separate batches, stirring occasionally, until soft, pale, and slightly golden (about 3-4 minutes per batch). Transfer the lightly fried zucchini by a slotted spoon to paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Once all of the zucchini has been fried, add the chopped garlic to the remaining oil and slightly brown to infuse the flavor into the oil. Remove skillet from heat.

Cook pasta in a 6-8 quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander and transfer to a large, shallow bowl.

Toss pasta with garlic oil, fried zucchini, mint, zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add some of the reserved cooking water to moisten if necessary. Continue to salt to taste. Serve with warmed bread from Marla Bakery.

Mercado Kitchen: California Marinated Artichokes

Posted on by BrittanyG in Blog, Blue House Farm, Mercado Kitchen, Recipes, Tomatero Farm, Twin Girls Farm | Leave a comment

Spring weather is here which means it’s time to drag out that barbecue, wipe it off, and heat it up! At MCM you can now find Blue House FarmTomatero Farm, and Zuckerman’s Farm offering an array of seasonal, local veggies perfect for grilling. Although you can roast almost any vegetable, this week’s recipe highlights the flowering artichoke drenched in healthy oils and grilled (or roasted in the oven) to a crisp, hearty perfection.
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You probably have a bottle of olive oil sitting on their counter for use during cooking, but what you may not know is how beneficial olive oil is to one’s health. A study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine found that those who ate up to four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil a day cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 30 percent compared to other low-fat diets. This recipe uses fresh extra-virgin olive oil to enhance the flavor of the artichokes while providing you with a heart-healthy dose of deliciousness!

California Marinated Artichokes

(Recipe has been adapted from the Tony Baker Rio Grill in Carmel, California)

Ingredients:
For the Grilled Artichokes
1 cup of White wine
2 tbs. of Fresh lemon juice from Twin Girls Farm
3-4 Artichokes from Blue House Farm

For the Marinade
1 1/2 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
2 stalks of Green garlic from Blue House Farm
1 tbs. Fresh oregano, thyme, and marjoram, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Cut off the top 1/3 of artichoke and trim the tips of leaves. Fill a large pot with enough water to cover artichokes, and add 1 cup of white wine and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the water. Boil the artichokes in the water, wine, and lemon juice for about 25 to 30 minutes until soft. The wine preserves the color and gives the artichokes a deep, unique flavor.

Set aside the cooked artichokes and prepare the marinade by combining 2 cups of olive oil with 1 cup Balsamic vinegar, 2 stalks of fresh green garlic, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, and 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Once artichokes have cooled, spread the leaves out slightly with a spoon to allow the marinade to infuse into all parts of the artichoke. Drizzle artichokes with the marinade, setting aside enough to coat each artichoke after cooking.

If you would like to grill the artichokes: Wrap each artichoke individually in foil. Place on hot coals in grill for about five to seven minutes. Remove from foil and brush with remaining marinade. Serve hot.
If you do not have a grill, roast them in the oven: Place the marinated artichokes on a pan and cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 7 minutes. Remove the foil and broil for another 5 minutes to crisp the tips of the leaves. Brush with remaining marinade. Serve hot.

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Mercado Kitchen: Char-Broiled Asparagus

Posted on by BrittanyG in Achadinha Cheese Company, Mercado Kitchen, Recipes, Terra Savia, Twin Girls Farm, Zuckerman's Farm | Leave a comment

Mission Community Market is happy to welcome back Zuckerman’s Farm to the market! This beautiful 1,500 acre, multi-generational farm in Stockton brings a plethora of bright green asparagus to the market each week, as well as potatoes. Stop by the market this week, grab a bundle, and broil these babies for a tasty meal with the family!

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Char-Broiled Asparagus

Ingredients:
Bundle of jumbo asparagus from Zuckerman’s Farm
2-3 tbs Olive oil from Terra Sávia
1 Lemon from Twin Girls Farm, cut into wedges for serving
1/2 tsp Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup of Freshly grated Capricious cheese from Achadinha Cheese Co.

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Gently break the bottoms off of each asparagus and lie in a foiled sheet pan. Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper on top of the bundle and place in the oven; cooking for roughly 10-15 minutes. Once this time passes, remove the asparagus and sprinkle the cheese across all of the stalks. Add a dash of grated lemon zest for a light kick and place back in oven for 3-5 more minutes on broil. When removed, the stalks should be lightly crispy and the cheese just barely golden. Enjoy with a wedge of lemon and pasta alfredo (which you can also grab at Home Maid Ravioli!)

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